Feb 162003
Authors: Jana Gurkin

Front Range elementary and middle school science teachers now have the resources to make hands-on learning more exciting, due to a $100,000 grant from the Hach Scientific Foundation.

The Hach Scientific Foundation gave the grant to the Front Range Community College Foundation when the college requested it to help elementary and middle school science teachers.

“I think it’s great that the Hach Scientific Foundation has given this grant to the Front Range Community College. It will really help students learn while having fun in school. It certainly would have made my middle school science classes more entertaining,” said Tara Peterson, a freshman open option major.

The new style of teaching for elementary and middle school students is designed to meet the state’s science standards. It wasn’t a problem to meet the standards before, but due to changing standards, the style of teaching has to be altered also, Feeley said. The hands-on approach in the science classes should meet the standards set by the state as well as making it fun and interesting for students.

This grant covers conference fees and materials teachers will use when they go to the weeklong summer workshops put on by the Hach Scientific Foundation National Hands-On Science Institute.

Although open mainly to teachers in the Front Range area, teachers from all over the country can utilize the institute, which will take place at the FRCC’s campus in Boulder, said John Feeley, with the college communications office.

The hands-on approach to learning science will apply to students up to at least the eighth grade level, and even though the way that the lessons will be taught to the different grade levels may vary, Feeley said, “They’re going to be formatted for fun.”

“I think students will be able to learn more from hands-on science activities, especially for younger students like those in elementary school,” said Ashley Campbell, an interior design major.

The workshops over the summer will be offered two different weeks, from June 15 to 20, and June 22 to 27, and will cover over 200 hands-on activities and classroom demonstrations. Feeley said as many as 100 teachers can go, and that they can call and apply; the only requirement to go is to be a science teacher at the elementary or middle school level.

School districts in the Front Range area will be paying $250 for teachers to go, and teachers take home approximately $500 worth of supplies to use in the classroom. Feeley said many of the supplies are re-useable and the materials given to them won’t require teachers to go buy expensive extra items in order to coordinate the classroom activities.

For elementary and middle school students interested in attending the afternoon workshops, the cost is $110. Usually, the afternoon camp costs $220, but this year the Hach grant includes a 50 percent reduction for all the students. Feeley said there is also additional money available for students who cannot meet the $110 cost. The afternoon camp lasts from one to four in the afternoon during each week the camp is offered in the summer.

Students interested in attending should apply either by mailing in the application or by applying online. Due to the large numbers of students that are expected to apply, Feeley said they will determine who is able to go by lottery drawing, where applications will be drawn randomly to fill the afternoon spots. To apply online, go to www.frontrange.edu, and click under “What’s New.” For teachers interested in attending, call (303) 798-2778.

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